Double Drought

Nevada's summer sales stand to dry up the marijuana supply


Nevada's green dreams may be short-lived as the states dispensaries are running out of pot, and they don't have a backup plan.

After dispensaries opened on July 1, fireworks weren't the only thing lighting up to celebrate good ol' American freedom.

The state sold $4 million worth of marijuana in the first weekend. A quarter of that went the state.

It seems the problem can be traced back to short-sighted legislation. In the law voted on by Nevadans in November, part of the deal was that marijuana could only be distributed by companies that traditionally distribute alcohol.

The problem is that these companies haven't yet been approved to distribute marijuana either because of unfinished applications or issues with zoning laws, according to the Reno Journal Gazette.

The idea behind the law was that alcohol companies stood to lose revenue with the introduction of legal marijuana. There may be some truth to that, but the data from states that have legalized marijuana so far are inconclusive.

Colorado actually saw an uptick in alcohol sales following legalization, but sales have fallen since. The Cannabiz Consumer Group estimated that legal marijuana would burn up about 7 percent of alcohol sales nationally.

Other states like Oregon and Washington have shown decreased alcohol sales. But marijuana and alcohol aren't exactly substitutes. In fact, users of one likely use the other.

Still, people only have so much expendable income for their vices, and when it comes to choosing, it's a lot easier to veg out at home than spend the night get wasted at the bar.

Nevada thought it would be enough of a problem to introduce a system that doesn't exist in any other legal marijuana markets.

Retailers tried increasing the price to temper sales, but it looks like the state is still headed for a drought.

The governor even went so far as to declare emergency regulations to license other companies to distribute marijuana. But the regulation is being challenged in court even with only seven alcohol distributors having applied for licenses to distribute marijuana.

Good try, Nevada, but it doesn't seem alcohol companies were very interested in the olive branch. Luckily, the distributors only have exclusive rights to the business for 18 months. So eventually the problem will sort itself out.

But with the resources put into the fresh industry, thousands of people will have to come up with a new plan if the state doesn't figure out a solution.

On top of the distribution issues, the state also seems to be having some growing issues as well. Marijuana growers are in the middle of growing their next crop, and some have even sold that once its ready.

Nevada's issues serve as a warning to future states considering or preparing for legalization. While marijuana will probably be most popular in the months right after legalization, while people want to try out the new goods, making sure you have enough supply is still important.

California is set to go legal in January. But California has been growing the country's marijuana for years, so unless they have plans to bottleneck the industry, they shouldn't have any issues.

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